A Few Questions to Prof. Ana Akrap

1.    What is your research focus?

Prof. Akrap: "My field of research is called condensed matter. It is that part of physics which explores what happens when we put many, many atoms together, so that they form a crystal. In my experiments, I use light to understand physical phenomena in crystals. The main focus of my research are a special kind of materials in which electrons become very light, sometimes less then one percent of their ordinary mass. Sometimes, these electrons can behave in a very special way, similarly to light, as if they had no inertia at all. We then say that they are massless.
Einstein discovered his famous theory of relativity more than 100 years ago. This theory completely shook the way we understand space and time. Today, we can see small pieces of his theory of relativity in our experiments when we shine light on our crystals. I find that wonderful and fascinating."

2.    What do you find particularly interesting/appealing about our Faculty?

Prof. Akrap: "I enjoy the friendly, collegial atmosphere. The faculty has a human size, which I believe can lead to greater discussions and connections. I also enjoy the green setting; my office has a view of the Botanical garden, which is always good for the mind and spirit. Many of my colleagues are world renowned experts who are not only doing exciting research, but also sharing their passion for science with a wider audience. In our faculty meetings, I enjoy the sense of humor of our dean, Prof. Bochet. Finally, it is great to be in a place where it is completely normal that people can think and talk in two (or three) languages almost at the same time."

3.    What do you wish to achieve here in Fribourg?

Prof. Akrap: "Fribourg is where I have started my group, called Light Fermion Spectroscopy. My first wish is to see my group progress and prosper, and to see us achieve excellent scientific results. There is still so much to learn, and I hope we will uncover some of the exciting physics mysteries with our optical experiments. I want my collaborators to have a successful and enjoyable learning path, to see our collaboration network blossom, make an impact, and to take pleasure in our work."

4.    What is your personal message or passion you would like to share with our students?

Prof. Akrap: "Find out what you love, and follow your bliss. It is more important to know what you want, than it is to be really smart. Read, listen, talk to others, and learn from each other. Science is a wonderful endeavour; it teaches us to be humble, and to find beauty in the world around us."